The Blessed Dead

William C. Brownson

READ : Revelation 14:13

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in

the Lord from now on.” “Blessed indeed,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their

labors, for their deeds follow them!” (v. 13)

This beatitude in Revelation takes us by surprise. “Blessed are the dead”? How can
being dead possibly be called a blessing? Don’t all of us hunger for life and dread its
passing? Isn’t death called in Scripture “the last enemy”?

All of that is true — about death without Christ. But the voice from heaven calls
death “blessed” for those who “die in the Lord,” those united with the risen Jesus. This
miracle of life in Christ robs death of all its fearfulness and power. To “die in the
Lord” is neither oblivion nor doom but rest and refreshment from our labors, the end of
all trouble, trial, and persecution. Believers who die will be, in Paul’s words, “with
Christ, which is far better” (Phil. 1:23).

Here’s more blessedness: The work of these faithful ones “will follow them.” Followers
of Jesus haven’t seen the end of their compassionate service, their courageous witness,
even their unnoticed labors. It all goes with them. You can’t separate the person from his
or her life contribution. What they’ve done in the power of Christ’s love will adorn them
in the life to come. It will be their treasure in heaven, their crown to cast at Jesus’
feet. Blessed are these “dead,” for they will live and reign eternally.


God, help us to labor now for Christ and finally to die trusting in him!